Father’s Day: The Thursday (1964)

Robertino Dino Car

“Am I young for a father?” Dino Versini (Walter Chiari) asks his girlfriend, Elsa (Michèle Mercier), in the opening scene of Dino Risi’s 1964 film The Thursday (originally Il giovedì). Dino is forty and looks it, so the inquiry seems more than a little silly. Is it simple vanity that compels him to pose this question, a barely veiled attempt to elicit a compliment on his appearance, or does it spring from a deeper insecurity? It’s just possible, also, that at least some part of him genuinely regards himself as someone too youthful to be the parent of an eight-year-old-boy. Today, for the first time since his marriage broke up five years ago, he’s going to spend time with his son, Robertino (Roberto Ciccolini). Although he may not realize it yet, their reunion will force him to confront both his image of himself and the image he tries to project to the world — whatever difference there may be between them.

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Six Favorites from the Sixties

6 from the 1960s Blogathon

If I had to pick one decade as my favorite for movies, I think I would have to go with the 1960s. Picking my six favorite movies from that decade? That’s a little more difficult. (It’s hard enough to limit myself to six favorites from a single year of the decade.) After much debate, I’ve decided on the following films (listed chronologically), though there are probably about two dozen other titles that could just as easily have made the cut.

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“It seems so simple, but it’s got everything”: Il Sorpasso (1962)


During an early scene in Dino Risi’s 1962 film Il Sorpasso, Bruno Cortona (Vittorio Gassman) tells Roberto Mariani (Jean-Louis Trintignant) to put on a Domenico Modugno record. “This song drives me crazy,” Bruno says. “It seems so simple, but it’s got everything: loneliness, inability to communicate, and that stuff that’s all the rage now — alienation, like in Antonioni’s films. Did you see L’Eclisse? I fell asleep. Had a nice nap. Great director, Antonioni.” At least on the surface, Risi’s road trip comedy has little in common with Michelangelo Antonioni’s somber meditations on modern life, such as L’Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961) and L’Eclisse (1962). As the movie goes on, though, Bruno’s description of the Modugno song becomes more and more applicable to Il Sorpasso itself.

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Don’t talk to strangers!


Countless movies, and stories in general, revolve around characters meeting new people who impact their lives in one way or another — or, in some instances, completely commandeer their lives. All it takes is a word, a polite gesture, an accident, and the passive protagonist finds himself or herself totally at the whim of an overpowering, eccentric stranger. The results may be hilarious, deadly or anything in between, but whatever the case, they frequently make for compelling cinema.

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